Thursday, February 1, 2007

The New Mythology

Sabrina Seyvecou in Choses Secrètes (Secret Things)

Secret Things (2002) is a mythological film--a fantasy film, even. Its director, Jean-Claude Brisseau, is known for his admiration of Fritz Lang--and, like Lang used Teutonic imagery in his Nibelungen films, Brisseau uses another familiar pantheon, and, in doing so, makes a convincing arguement that sexuality is the mythology of contemporary society. "Taboo" sexual elements and activites are as instantly recognizable, socially codified and thought-over by modern Westerners as Classical myths. The characters are sexual fauns, muses and Olympic gods; every actor seems to have had plastic surgery or, at the very least, a few too many spray tans. Incest and threesomes are Brisseau's Siegfried and Kriemhild. The sex scenes themselves play out as classically and rigidly as passion plays, only with three decades of softcore porn as their source material--and they are performed reverently, for Brisseau, like Lang, believes in the power of myths not as falsehoods but as social anchors. The effect is something simultaenously petty and epic, like a noir film.

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